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Digging to America

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Powerful contemporary tale

On August 15, 1997 at the Baltimore airport, two couples each wait for the arrival of their newly adopted Korean infants. Bitsy and Brad Dickinson-Donaldson are openly ecstatic over their tiny Jin-Ho while a more subdued but just as elated Sami and Ziba Yazdan are exhi...
On August 15, 1997 at the Baltimore airport, two couples each wait for the arrival of their newly adopted Korean infants. Bitsy and Brad Dickinson-Donaldson are openly ecstatic over their tiny Jin-Ho while a more subdued but just as elated Sami and Ziba Yazdan are exhilarated over their Sookie, who they rename Susan. In the waiting room, Bitsy and Brad host a baby shower gala with their family horde while the Yazdans only have his Iranian mother Maryam with them. Still this euphoric connection leads to a strong friendship between Bitsy and Brad Donaldson with.----- The extroverted Bitsy establishes an annual gala to celebrate Arrival Day. She and Ziba become especially close, but she fails in her efforts to reach out to Maryam, who detests the ugly Americans though she has been here for decades arriving as a teenage bride immigrant, whose son was born here and husband died here. She still feels like an outsider in the United States, but unwelcome in Iran. That suddenly changes when Bitsy¿s widower father Dave makes clear his intentions towards her that panic and exhilarate Maryam.----- DIGGING TO AMERICA is a great character study that digs deep into the adopting parents yet they, Dave and their respective children are secondary protagonists to the tale¿s prime player, Maryam. Readers will appreciate the support cast that includes the brashness of Bitsy the tenderness of Brad towards his two women the friendliness of Dave somewhat tamped by his grief for his wife and his need for Maryam Sami's aloofness toward Iran and America that frustrates his mom Ziba's exuberance towards the American dream for her baby. However, Maryam remains the focus as no one before Dave has gotten inside her perimeter, but he wonders if she will let him remain there. Anne Tyler provides a powerful contemporary tale that looks deep into the Americanization of Maryam that is worth reading.------ Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on December 9, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Who are these characters

I've read most of Anne Taylor's other works and have either loved or at least very much liked them. Digging to America however will not be in either of those categories. I felt like I didn't really get to know any of the many (too many), characters in this book. Yes,...
I've read most of Anne Taylor's other works and have either loved or at least very much liked them. Digging to America however will not be in either of those categories. I felt like I didn't really get to know any of the many (too many), characters in this book. Yes, there were several flashbacks as to what they went through in prior years, but not enough so I would feel any sort of attachment toward or care about any of them. Also, there was not much insight as to why certain characters would feel the way they do toward each other or why they act the way they do. Sorry, just not my idea of a good book.

posted by Anonymous on August 3, 2006

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Powerful contemporary tale

    On August 15, 1997 at the Baltimore airport, two couples each wait for the arrival of their newly adopted Korean infants. Bitsy and Brad Dickinson-Donaldson are openly ecstatic over their tiny Jin-Ho while a more subdued but just as elated Sami and Ziba Yazdan are exhilarated over their Sookie, who they rename Susan. In the waiting room, Bitsy and Brad host a baby shower gala with their family horde while the Yazdans only have his Iranian mother Maryam with them. Still this euphoric connection leads to a strong friendship between Bitsy and Brad Donaldson with.----- The extroverted Bitsy establishes an annual gala to celebrate Arrival Day. She and Ziba become especially close, but she fails in her efforts to reach out to Maryam, who detests the ugly Americans though she has been here for decades arriving as a teenage bride immigrant, whose son was born here and husband died here. She still feels like an outsider in the United States, but unwelcome in Iran. That suddenly changes when Bitsy¿s widower father Dave makes clear his intentions towards her that panic and exhilarate Maryam.----- DIGGING TO AMERICA is a great character study that digs deep into the adopting parents yet they, Dave and their respective children are secondary protagonists to the tale¿s prime player, Maryam. Readers will appreciate the support cast that includes the brashness of Bitsy the tenderness of Brad towards his two women the friendliness of Dave somewhat tamped by his grief for his wife and his need for Maryam Sami's aloofness toward Iran and America that frustrates his mom Ziba's exuberance towards the American dream for her baby. However, Maryam remains the focus as no one before Dave has gotten inside her perimeter, but he wonders if she will let him remain there. Anne Tyler provides a powerful contemporary tale that looks deep into the Americanization of Maryam that is worth reading.------ Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2009

    Wonderful read.

    Digging to America was not what I invisioned from the title. It was a wonderful book about 2 families with different styles and backgrounds all wanting to be part of the American dream.

    The book features one traditional American (European background) family and a new American family (Mid-Eastern background). We learn about the fears, failures and joys of many of the characters. In the 40's it could have been about an Irish family instead of Middle Eastern.. the struggles are the same. How to merge the past, present and future together.

    What made this story even more intersting and complicated is that the story uses the adoption of two babies from the Korea as the focal point that creates the bond between all of the characters.

    If you only read one part of the book... read the one about getting rid of the pacifier. It was laugh out loud funny and one that could touch every mother.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2007

    love it!

    The book digging to America interested me in a lot ways. exspecially because the girl was adopted and storys like this always touch my heart in some way or another!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book, thru all of its writing, proves one thing over all. That is that people from one culture never, ever, completely trust those from another culture no matter how close they come to them and no matter how assimilated they become in the other's nation. This is too bad because all people should be able to get along because of their brain size, however, the only ones who seem to assimilate correctly and make a good life for themselves are animals (with small brains), and that is bad if we people are supposedly so much more 'gifted' than they are.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2006

    Who are these characters

    I've read most of Anne Taylor's other works and have either loved or at least very much liked them. Digging to America however will not be in either of those categories. I felt like I didn't really get to know any of the many (too many), characters in this book. Yes, there were several flashbacks as to what they went through in prior years, but not enough so I would feel any sort of attachment toward or care about any of them. Also, there was not much insight as to why certain characters would feel the way they do toward each other or why they act the way they do. Sorry, just not my idea of a good book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2011

    Good Book to read

    Digging to America is a hard book to put down. Having Iranian friends, I enjoyed reading about the food and culture. This book made you stop and think about families who adopt Asian children. Very thought provoking. My only question would be to Ms. Tyler is "Would an Iranian family adopt an Asian child"? But it was interesting to read about how the American family raised their adopted Asian daughter and the Iranian family raised their adopted daughter. I loved all the characters, especially Maryam. She reminded me so much of the Iranian women I met through my friend. Independent and very intelligent. I can just picture her, dark hair and eyes and very beautiful. Anne Tyler was not as kind to the American women. She made them sound very unattractive with their baggy clothes. Enjoyed the book and would highly recommend.

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  • Posted March 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Anne Tyler created a super story

    I thought that Anne Tyler created a super story in "Digging to America" The book portrayed some of the hidden snares that are involved with the book's doptive families as they go about adopting their Korean daughters The story takes place in Baltimore, with two families from different cultures; a suburban Caucasian family and a Iranian family. These two families become the focus of the book since both have adopted a daughter from Korea. It's an interesting story and there lots of humorous discussions. Highly recommend.

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  • Posted February 7, 2011

    A crisp and thought-provoking read.

    I picked this book up at a used book store after I left my vacation reading on the plane. An uninformed, but fortuitous, choice, having never before read Anne Tyler. The author's decade plus journey through the fictional lives of the parents and extended families and their two adopted Korean babies moves along briskly even though it makes you think the whole way. The views of the Iranian immigrant mother of one of the babies are especially thought-provoking.

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  • Posted July 19, 2009

    Never Fails

    Anne Tyler never fails to write an interesting story with quirky characters. I have enjoyed every single thing she has written, and would recommend all her books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2009

    disappointed in this author

    As I have read all of Anne Tyler's previous books I was disappointed in this one and definitely wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    Enjoyed it!

    Good read - lovely and thoughtful insight into another culture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2008

    Really disliked the book

    The story was very non eventful.A whole lot of words about nothing! Couldn't wait to finish it ,not because I was anxious to read what happened, because nothing really ever happens in the story. It just went on and on about nothing. Would not recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2008

    Great Book, Digging to America

    I just finished reading Digging to Americaa, I really enjoyed it. I love her books and would recommend it to anyone. Easy to read. Eileen

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2007

    A reviewer

    I couldn't muster enough faith in the story to prod any longer than page 41. I found it difficult to relate to, sympathize with, or even respect the characters. They were intolerable, existing only to drive the plot. The book professes to extol the principles of cultural tolerance and individual sensitivity, but it fails in this as it attempts to bridge ethnic, gender, racial, economic, generational, and, especially, the individual divide. The characters are pigeonholed in stereotyped behavior, manner, and thought. A stilted performance of a highly advertised and acclaimed book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2006

    wonderful Book!!!

    Anne Tyler is an incredible novelist. I've read a few of her other books, but I think I enjoyed this one the most. She never disappoints me, and I'm looking forward to reading ALL her books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2006

    Anne Tyler is wonderful

    I'm a big Anne Tyler fan. My absolute all-time favorite book is Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. I enjoyed this book a great deal. My best friend's father is Iranian, so I could relate to some of the cultural references in this book, but my favorite parts had to do with the feelings of 'otherness' that so many of the characters felt. I think most of us feel that 'otherness' in some way, that there's always a part of us that doesn't really fit in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2006

    A joy to read.

    I just turned the last page of this book. I truly enjoyed it. I would blissfully carry on with this book and characters for years to come and never look for another book . ( outside of the Bible of course ) I loved Maryam, Bitsi, Dave the extended cousins and aunts. Anne Tyler is my favorite author she always takes time letting the reader get to know the personalities and takes us through the day to day life that is so ordinary but so interesting none the less. I wish it would have been longer I was not ready to put this one down . A familiar feeling after one of her books I always hope for a sequel. I hope her next book isn't so long in coming.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2006

    Timely, Topical, and Touching

    With all the talk about immigration and foreign adoption, two topics that always generate passionate opinions, Digging to America puts faces (albeit fictional) and hearts to the issues. The ways in which the families assimilate their daughters into American lives while trying to preserve their original heritage contrasts with Maryam's struggle to maintain her 'otherness' while being a part of an assimilated family. Tyler shows the struggles on all sides without being pedantic. Her characters show a lot of heart throughout their process, one reason I enjoy her work so much. Also, the generational relationships and their takes on embracing their Americanism were quite interesting. I hated for it to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2006

    Better and Better

    Many novelists write their finest first and the subsequent books are always second rate. Not only has Anne Tyler surpassed her earlier books, she has written something in entirely different way than her other novels. The characters are endearing, true, full of life's nuances. Enthralling. enchanting, funny and so relevant for the times we are in. Best novel so far.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2006

    Clashing Symbols Story

    Tyler's nearly perfect and always poignant story writing is especially good, here, and especially needed, now. Her timely and vital observations about clashing cultures and social classes provide fresh perspectives and old struggles and give readers the opportunity to correct misconceptions while curling up with a good book.

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